I have noticed for some time, particularly amongst eventers, the deterioration of ground manners as the horse gets fitter. Perhaps a lack of guidance by coaches? Are we so busy in the delivery of lessons that we don't see, or have the time to express the importance of affirming ground manners through the rising plane of nutrition . Obviously as the horse gets fitter with progressive training there are control issues that can get out of hand if ground manners are not dealt with on a daily basis. I.E. SIMPLE STOP AND GO , how many times have we all seen the young rider having trouble with the brakes? What seems to be the solution? A stronger bit. While this may fix the problem short term, there seems to be less long term strategies. Don't get me wrong , I don't have anything against stronger bits, but it must also be addressed with a revision of ground manners . As we all know there is usually a couple of problems associated with poor brakes, and rarely is there one fix. But how often do we see a horse with poor brakes ,also have poor ground manners, with both deteriorating with the increasing fittness of the horse.

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Hi Geoffrey, my 4 yr old qh mare the one who cowkicks, well she trys to challenge me when i lunge her. She will pin her ears back and act like she is going to charge me, it is pretty intimidating. My question is what can i do to make sure i am safe while working her and to get her to understand i am the leader? Sorry for all the questions hope it isnt irritating.

Hi Jessica, Not at all irritaiting. Sounds like you need to make a fresh start with this horse. If you scroll down and look at the advice I gave Wendy , you will see Iv'e talked about the stop and go responce. I suggest you do some of that training with your horse and I know you will see a difference in the attitude of your horse. It's about setting clear boundrys for them . Do you know anything about the history of this horse? I remember you said it had some skin issues, are these resolved? What feed is it getting ?
Hi Geoffrey, I will def. try the stop and go responce on her. As for her skin she still has some scabs on her, the previous owner said when he got her she was covered in flies. Im not real sure what to do for her skin?
I'd be getting a vet to have a look at the scabs and get that resolved asap. Good luck with the training , Cheers Geoffrey
When I lunge Ben, we work on the walk, trot transitions and he is very very good. On the halt he turns in but that doesn't bother me because I feel that he has his eyes on me and is supposed to anyway.(?) I've learned that the horse is not supposed to turn in at the halt but I can't really understand why.

After lunging Ben follows me around with no lead. He'll walk beside me, turn, back up, walk into the barn with me which means the lunging has been a success, right? I'm happy about that.

But, then there are the other times (which I admit are few) where he is not cooperative - however, as you say, I'll not sweat the small stuff...

I'm embarrassed to ask this question, but what is "the park technique"?
Hi Wendy, Don't be embarressed to ask questions, Man went to the moon by asking questions!! Park is a remedy for horses that are anxious, fidgety, those that bite or barge into your space and those that are difficult to groom or saddle. This is strait from Dr Andrew Mclean's book " Horse training, The Mclean way, The science behind the art." I quote, " Once you have trained Go ,Stop and step back, you can train Park. If the horse moves a step forward, apply pressure to his chest to make him take a step back. If he moves sideways with either front of back legs, pressure him back a step. If he moves back a step, lead him forward a step. In other words, correct any movement of the legs that you have not requested. Increase the length of time he stays in Park. Once he remains immobile, maintain his focus STRAIGHT ahead while Parked. Disallow any shifts in focus to either side- vibrate the lead in the opposite direction to where he looks, until his head is straight. Once straight, he will relax and lower his neck. CHECK TO TEST PARK, move away from your horse and be ready to correct Park. Later move around your horse while attending to any los of immobility until he remains Parked." I have found this to be a most valueable tool in getting horses to stay calm, quite often when the horse is in Park I can leave them and walk away to the other end of the ring, or even go to the tack room!! Now, going back to the lungeing , it's important to have the horse halt on the lunge in the same dirrection they were travelling because you are teaching them Straightness, we want our horses to halt straight when we ride them , then they must do so on the lunge. To get this to happen, possition yourself in front of the horses shoulder as you ask for the halt, and walk a straight line out of the middle of the circle parallel to the horse, the first few times you do it walk him into the wall to help him understand. Sounds like he's on track with the responses you are getting most of the time, so you must be doing it correctly, just remember the more you do on the ground to gain control and respect the easier they are to ride. Cheers Geoffrey


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